Are you thinking about accepting a job offer and relocating to Qatar? While Qatar is not one of the top 25 most expensive places to live in the world, it's also not one of the cheapest countries to live in. But how much does it cost to live in Qatar in 2020?
There's no doubt that the cost of living in Qatar can be high, but if you're wondering whether the salary and benefits you're offered will cover your cost of living, the real answer to that question is -- it very much depends. It depends on exactly how and where you wish to spend your time and money, your life expectations, the district you wish to live in, the cost of the property you wish to rent, and a host of other factors.
Here's an updated guide to the cost of living in Qatar to help provide you with an overview of some of the more expensive costs you can expect, as well as some of the more budget items. Below you'll find information about the costs of rent, transportation, food, education, clothing, and utilities.
Note: All costs are in Qatari Riyals and prices are as of September 2020.
Your biggest expense by far is living in Qatar would have to be the accommodation costs. While some are provided company accommodation, most expats rent in Qatar.
Depending on the location, quality, and amenities of the flat you choose, the monthly rental for studio and one-bedroom apartments starts from approximately QR 2,000 to QR 15,000. Based on classified ads posted on the different property-find websites, a bed space rent ranges from QR 500 to QR 1,500 and averages out at around QR 900.
A one-bedroom apartment at the luxurious Pearl-Qatar development starts at QR 6,000 while a fully furnished one-bedroom apartment at Msheireb Downtown Doha starts at QR 9,500. You can get a two-bedroom apartment for QR 3,200 in Al Gharaffa and a fully furnished two-bedroom for QR 3,325 in Al Wakra.
For those who have their own vehicle, the petrol price per litre ranges from QR 1.20 to 1.25. For public transport, you can choose to take the bus, Doha Metro, or taxi. Bus rides start from QR 2.50 for short trips while a single Metro ride in the Standard class costs QR 2. Metrolink feeder buses are free of charge. Karwa smartcards are needed to ride a Karwa public bus. It costs from QR 10 (Limited - good for 2 journeys) to QR 30 (Classic rechargeable). The Standard Doha Metro travel card costs QR 10 without travel credit.
Taxi options include the government-owned metered Karwa taxi or ride-hailing services like Uber, and Careem. The flag fall rate for Karwa taxi within Doha starts at QR 4 and QR 1.6 per km while outside Doha is QR 1.90 per km (also applicable to night time fare). The minimum taxi fare trip starts at QR 10 (including the first 5km)
The minimum ride fare for UberX and CareemGO is at QR 8. The final fare will vary depending on the distance, peak hour, and traffic along the way.
|Petrol||QR 1.20 - 1.25|
|Karwa Bus||starts at QR 2.50|
|Doha Metro||QR 2.00|
|Karwa Taxi||starts at QR 10|
|Uber/Careem||starts at QR 8.00|
Although 'Made in Qatar' food products have been increasing in recent years, the majority of the food products are still imported, so expect that some grocery items are more expensive than in other countries.
Here are common grocery items and their minimum prices:
|Milk (Fresh 1L)||QR 7.25|
|Eggs (30 pcs)||QR 7.50|
|White bread (1 pkt)||QR 5.50|
|Water (6x1.5L)||QR 5.00|
|Rice (Basmati 1 kg)||QR 9.00|
|Chicken Breast (Fresh -fillet 500g)||QR 18.75|
Eating at restaurants can get expensive depending on the place you choose as well as the frequency. A dinner meal at KFC can go around QR 24 while on the other end of the spectrum, a meal for two at a 5-star hotel restaurant can go as high up to QR 1,200. A three-course meal for two at mid-range restaurants usually range from QR 200 to QR 400. There are also affordable small local restaurants where you can get a meal for two that costs less than QR 20.
Qatar has a wide range of choices for apparel depending on your budget and lifestyle. From the affordable brands to haute couture, you can shop to your heart's (and wallet's) content. For example, Adidas sports shoes start at around QR 250, a cotton T-shirt at Mango starts at QR 35, and a pair of jeans at Levi's at QR 350.
On the budget side, at Max Fashion you can easily get a top for a baby at QR 12 and for adults at QR 20. Their jeans retail for around QR 40 and sports shoes at QR 50.
There's also almost always a bargain and sales on at the shopping malls.
Citizens and residents of Qatar may apply for a health card to access free or subsidized public healthcare services. The Hamad Health Card costs QR 100 per year and allows access to HMC and Primary Health Care Corporation's Health Centers. Residents can also avail of private health insurance although this is usually covered by the employer. Doctor consultation at a private healthcare facility starts at QR 25.
According to Kahramaa, for a residential villa or flat, the water tariff is QR 5.50 per cubic meter for up to 20 cubic meters of water, while the electricity tariff is about QR 0.11/kwh for the consumption of up to 2000kwh. The government subsidizes water, electricity, and gas to a certain extent to benefit the local population.
A new 6kg SHAFAF gas cylinder with gas costs QR 283 while the 12kg costs QR 365. Without gas, the cylinder costs QR 275 and QR 350 respectively. Refill for the 12kg costs QR 15.
READ MORE: Here's how to pay KAHRAMAA bills in Qatar!
There are only 2 telecom providers in Qatar - Ooredoo and Vodafone. You can recharge your prepaid SIM for as little as QR 5 (Vodafone Flex and Ooredoo Flexi) - QR 10 while postpaid plans start from QR 88 (previously at QR 110). Both of these providers offer a variety of combo plans (data, calls, and SMS) that you can choose from according to your needs.
For home internet, Ooredoo ONE starts at QR 330 per month which includes 50 Mbps and unlimited local calls while Vodafone Gigahome Essential starts at QR 220 for up to 20 Mbps and unlimited calls to landline numbers. Other fees may apply (router, installation, etc).
|Prepaid||recharge starts at QR 5 - 10||recharge starts at QR 5 - 10|
|Postpaid||starts at QR 88||starts at QR 88|
|Home Internet||starts at QR 330/mo - 50Mbps||starts at QR 220/mo - 20Mbps|
READ MORE: The truth about internet speeds in Qatar
If you have a family, another major portion of your income will be spent on your children particularly their education. There's a public school system in Qatar, and it's free -- but only to locals. The truth is, that educational costs will vary a great deal and the school your child attends will be relative to your own individual circumstances. The quality of private schooling in Qatar is generally excellent but can be expensive, so if you're on any kind of budget it pays to shop around.
Fees vary and are also relative to your child’s level of educational attainment or school grades. For example, kindergarten fees start at around QR 20,000 per year, while fees at a wide range of high schools can cost up to QR 80,000 annually. That's not including separate costs such as application fees, uniforms, and transport fees. There are also different schools for different nationalities, including Pakistani, Indian, and Filipino schools to name a few, and these can very often prove to be less expensive.
Before you commit to any one school, it's also useful to note that many employers will provide you with an allowance to offset school fees -- but it's always wise to make sure of this.
READ MORE: List of IB schools in Qatar (International Baccalaureate)
Compared to 2018, water and electricity at present are higher. It was previously QR 4.40 for water while QR 0.08 for electricity. In terms of clothing, healthcare, eating out, public transport and school fees not much has changed. Petrol costs in 2018 were also more expensive, with Super Gasoline costing QR 1.95 in March of that year.
Some grocery items still cost the same while some items' costs decreased a bit more. Monthly rent in some areas also went down a bit.
READ MORE: Breaking down the cost of living in Qatar - 2018
Qatar offers a variety of services and products depending on one's budget and needs, thus, your expenses will vary depending on your lifestyle. While it isn't one of the cheapest countries to live in, there's still a lot of perks living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world such as no income tax, low crime rate, and world-class healthcare and education.
Did this article help you learn more about the cost of living in Qatar? And, if you're a Qatar resident, how much are your living costs? Are you able to save any money? Please share your findings with us so that we can compare and report! And don't forget to like and share this article!
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